April 21, 2019
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Spiritual Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of the Lord

At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

The Mass for Easter Day

Celebrating Easter

Finding Hope in the Easter Season

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Feeling Our Hearts Burning with Hope

Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis - 2018

Easter Vigil Homily for 2016

Assigning Peter’s speech to our Easter Sunday readings requires a lot of “fast forward”. There is no way Peter could have spoken like that on Easter Sunday. Like the others apostles, Peter was both scared and discouraged after the Good Friday experience and it took not only repeated manifestations of the risen Lord, but most especially the Pentecost experience, for Peter to have the courage to speak like that.

It is quite remarkable that Peter’s catechetical summary almost belabors one point: we are witnesses that he is risen. This is in fact the core of the early apostolic preaching, before distortions necessitated pastoral and theological clarifications. Their witnessing needed to be enabled by a twofold support: love and faith. Their love was there, which is why they were grieving, but their faith had been shaken by the Good Friday events. They hid in the upper room and some started to walk away, as the two Emmaus disciples did.

The same is also clear in today’s gospel reading. Love is alive enough for both disciples to run to the tomb, but their faith had been crushed and finding that the tomb was indeed empty meant nothing to Peter. The beloved disciple’s faith had also been shaken, but his love led him to ponder and remember the words of Jesus. It was this love that awaken his faith. We need both love and faith. We know that faith is gift, but loving God and loving others can awaken in us the gift of faith.

The Lord will later tell Thomas: blessed are those, who believe without seeing. Believing without seeing is challenging enough, but more challenging is believing against what we do see. We see around us an effective denial of the Lord’s values not just in society at large, but even in our own Church shaken by the appalling scandal of clergy misconduct. Believing against what we do see is a more refined way to be blessed.

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